Home INTERVIEWS Serdar ÇORA, CEO of Aeros: “Aeros’ next target is aircraft integration and modernisation projects.”

Serdar ÇORA, CEO of Aeros: “Aeros’ next target is aircraft integration and modernisation projects.”

by Can Kılınç

Aeros continues its growth and development, and its new office will carry the company even higher, with a larger staff and even more projects. Serdar Çora, CEO of Aeros, shared the current activities of the company and its future goals for MSI TDR readers.

MSI TDR: In the interview, we had with you in 2021, you hosted us in your first office, which was much smaller compared to here. Since then, Aeros has moved to larger and larger offices parallel with its development. Today, we are here in your new office at Bilkent CYBERPARK, and it looks spacious and professional. Could you provide some insights on Aeros’ quick growth and development through a lens of office changes?

Serdar ÇORA: Ever since Aeros was founded, we have had our sights set on certain projects we wish to take on. We took part in some of these projects previously. And in parallel to the project scope, we had to grow our team every time to accomplish that, we started with a few people, and now our team has 12 members. Our experience with big defence companies has taught us that the best way to grow our team and quickly train our newcomers is to have them work side by side with experienced team members. As such, the two requirements for our new office were the ability to work focused and work side by side to achieve efficient and effective teamwork.

Our new office at Bilkent CYBERPARK allows our team to work together efficiently and our new team members to adapt to our processes quickly. In addition, Bilkent CYBERPARK houses many of our stakeholders in the ecosystem we want to cooperate with, and this will lead to many new cooperation opportunities.

Meantime, we started a collaboration with a Germany-based EURO FLIGHT TEST (EFT) company. There is a need for people to take part in flight tests in Turkish air platform projects. This need in Türkiye, EFT’s location and capabilities, and Aeros’ experience combined in such a way to result in this natural partnership between EFT and Aeros. We have plans to expand this cooperation beyond Türkiye’s borders as well.

Aeros, moved its activities to its new office at Bilkent CYBERPARK because of the projects it is running on the defence and civil aviation sectors along with its increased business volume.

MSI TDR: Could you share the projects and activities that supported Aeros’ recent growth?

Serdar ÇORA: Türkiye was and still is determined to develop indigenous defence and aerospace systems without any export restrictions. Defence and aerospace sector mobilised to meet this challenge, commencing many critical projects of various sizes. Some of them successfully concluded, and some are still ongoing. On the civil aviation front, there are some small-scale design projects, but we think these projects will grow larger in the near future for Türkiye civil aviation market.

Ever since we were founded, we have wanted to participate in design projects both for military and civil aviation. Currently, we are involved in such projects, in which we moved past the initial design phases and made great strides. These projects are helping our corporate development as well. For example, the latter phases of these projects required us to get AS9100 certification, as well as a premises security certificate. We have received our AS9100D certificate and are at the last stage of the premises security certificate.

In a broader view, we have 27 projects so far. We have successfully concluded 17 of them, while the rest is still ongoing. About a third of these projects were in the civil aviation sector. In addition to Aeros’ product development and integration projects, we are working with three companies as well, on systems engineering, system design safety, speciality engineering, and certification activities.

MSI TDR: How did you manage your growth? What kind of impact did your growth have on your numbers?

Serdar Çora, CEO of Aeros

Serdar ÇORA: We are utilising the experience and know-how of every single team member from previous studies in our projects. That experience and know-how, which lays the foundation of Aeros’ way of working, allow us to learn new things much faster, along with developing our new engineers.

For us, the experience of the people in our team matters, rather than the number of people. The average experience of our team is around 12 years. Some of them have 20-25 years, some of them have 3-5 years, and some of them are new graduates.

We have increased our revenue and increased our team members by 120 percent from 2021 to 2022. For us, two things are crucial: sustainability and revenue per person. We are not taking on any work we cannot complete, or works beyond our potential. We like to take things step by step, and we are advancing in line with our aims regarding revenue per person.

As for exports, it is always in our strategic roadmap, and we are working hard to make new developments there. We want to open the engineering service quality we offer to our domestic customers to the global defence and aerospace market and the civil aviation sector. As you know, the export of engineering services is one of the export types with the highest added value.

Aeros team reached 12 people as a result of its increased business volume.

Ever since we were founded, we have wanted to participate in design projects both for military and civil aviation. Currently, we are involved in such projects, in which we moved past the initial design phases and made great strides. These projects are helping our corporate development as well. For example, the latter phases of these projects required us to get AS9100 certification, as well as a premises security certificate. We have received our AS9100D certificate and are at the last stage of the premises security certificate.

Engineering First and Foremost

MSI TDR: What are Aeros’ main areas of focus in today’s world?

Serdar ÇORA: We have conceptualised Aeros as a company that does engineering and provides information. We focus on engineering services first and foremost. We divide engineering services into two pieces: design and testing, and we are focusing on both of them.

If you ask us what kind of projects, we want to do next in our area of focus, our response would be, “Aeros’ next target is aircraft integration and modernisation projects, which includes all engineering capabilities within Aeros”. We will be doing small-scale integration projects first and move on to larger ones as our team and facility grow.

We want to work on integration and modernisation projects aimed at both civilian and military platforms. We think our efforts will lead to high-added-value products. We have a special goal for integration: integrating the indigenous Turkish defence and aerospace products into the aircraft as a part of the international projects we will participate in. For example, many subsystems like lighting, environmental control systems and power distribution are mostly developed in military projects. These can be transformed into civilian products by completing relevant EASA and FAA certification processes. As such, we would like to highlight our “Flying in Formation with Companies” approach.

As for modernisation, we have the engineering skills to add new capabilities to any platform, such as to a fighter for changing its avionics, mission, and aircraft system. After we receive certain authorisations, we can make many changes on civilian aircraft, from their cockpit to their cabin, and even their external integrations in the scope of mission needs. All of what I have mentioned brings significant export potential.

Aeros’ new office at Bilkent CYBERPARK allows the more experienced personnel in the Aeros team to share their experiences with the new members of the team.

MSI TDR: You have touched on products just now. Does Aeros plan to have its own products?

Serdar ÇORA: We would like to have Aeros have its own products, yes. However, these products must have a use in the entire world, in addition to never being produced before in Türkiye. There are many significant capabilities within our borders, and many important products are being developed as we speak, and we do not want to compete with them. We aim to create design solutions that combine the capabilities in Türkiye and add new technologies on top of that for our products, and we want them to be able to be used in both military and civilian upgrade and integration projects.

Aeros’ new office at Bilkent CYBERPARK also has a small workshop.

MSI TDR: Can you expand your aims on civil aviation?

Serdar ÇORA: We want to play more significant roles on civil aviation, especially in design and test expertise. Even though the aviation projects in Türkiye focus on the military, there aren’t many differences between civilian and military aircraft, engineering-wise.

As such, our experience and know-how on engineering can be adapted to civil aviation. However, we need certain authorizations and approvals to work in the civil aviation sector. For example, we applied to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) to receive SHT-21 Design Organisation Approval. To receive this approval, we must have a certain organisation and processes, with the human resources having the required qualifications in our organisation. We have achieved these requirements. We have prepared Design Organisation Manual where we explained our workflow, and it was accepted. We have reached the last phase in this process.

When we receive this approval, we want to be able to make small changes on helicopters at first, then work on fixed-wing aircraft. These permits will allow us to work for friendly countries with a civil aviation agreement with Türkiye, like Malaysia, Indonesia, and Pakistan, as well as for Türkiye. Then we aim to receive approval from European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) as well.

There is great potential for civil aviation. When one thinks about civil aviation, images of passenger and cargo planes, and flight schools pop up first. However, air tankers and helitankers, crop dusters, vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) aircrafts, and amateur kit aircrafts also exist, and these are very underutilised in Türkiye, and there is a great and growing market for them. We foresee Aeros will work on these niches in the future, as they pick up steam.

In some projects, testing processes take far longer than they need to. Project targets get missed. Deliveries get delayed. We have significant and comprehensive testing expertise, from environmental qualification tests to structural tests, and even flight tests which is a very special area. We can significantly contribute to determining acceptance criteria more precisely and planning correctly for tests. We already took part in projects where we managed to shorten testing schedules, reduce testing costs, and clarify the documentation for the procurement authorities and the contractor while satisfying all the verification activities. 

Shorter Testing Schedules are a Possibility

MSI TDR: What are your activities on the testing side of engineering, and what are your plans for it?

Serdar ÇORA: In some projects, testing processes take far longer than they need to. Project targets get missed. Deliveries get delayed. We have significant and comprehensive testing expertise, from environmental qualification tests to structural tests, and even flight tests which is a very special area. We can significantly contribute to determining acceptance criteria more precisely and planning correctly for tests. We already took part in projects where we managed to shorten testing schedules, reduce testing costs, and clarify the documentation for the procurement authorities and the contractor while satisfying all the verification activities. 

Not everything may go as planned during tests, you may need to make design changes. We can support this process with our expertise and know-how on engineering. This makes the testing process much more reliable, both for the procurement parties, authorities, and the contractor.

MSI TDR: Anything you would like to add?

Serdar ÇORA: However much we talk about technology, exports, and aviation, they only become a reality with people. We await the application of all engineers with a certain experience and mid-level managers to Aeros for work, even those who work abroad. We will do great things, and we will do it with people familiar with our culture, people who consider Aeros as their own company and advance towards the future with us.

Serdar Çora, CEO of Aeros

We would like to thank Serdar Çora, CEO of Aeros, on behalf of our readers for taking the time to answer our questions, and for providing us with such valuable information.

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